Transfer fee for Neymar comes 5-7 years earlier than trends would have suggested
PwC analysis of transfer activity at Europe’s top 20 football clubs indicates the biggest transfers could consistently exceed £100m by the 2024/2025 season based on the spending trends of the biggest clubs to date.
PwC has tracked every transfer involving the top 20 ranked UEFA clubs from 2001 to the current window in addition to the 20 largest deals by these clubs in each season to work out an average for both. These have been analysed alongside the progression of club revenues and the world record transfer fees.
The current average for the largest 20 transfer fees this season, excluding the record-breaking Neymar transfer, is £35m, with the overall average being £15m for the top 20 clubs. The average fee for the largest 20 transfers is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% to reach £65m by the 2024/25 season. Fees at the very top end of the market will pass the £100m level more regularly.
Philip Shepherd, partner in PwC’s Sports & Leisure practice, said:
“Our analysis indicates that by 2025, £100m transfers will be more prevalent as spending continues to follow the escalating growth of club revenues. The record-breaking sale of Neymar this summer is a unique case, at five times the average price of the next 20 biggest transfers so far this summer. Historically the range for the world record transfer has been between 2.5-3 times the average of the next 20 largest fees. On this basis, we would have expected to see a record transfer fee at the level of the reported fee for Neymar in around 5-7 years’ time.”
Jonathan Blausten, senior consultant in PwC’s Sports & Leisure practice, added:
“Our analysis raises some interesting questions around the relationship between transfer spend and revenue. In the past three to four seasons revenue has grown consistently at 3% per annum faster than average transfer fees, driven primarily by the fast-growing media rights deals and large sponsorship deals reflecting the continuing globalisation of European football. This suggests many clubs aren’t fully flexing their muscles in the transfer market yet and we would not be surprised to see a step change in fees at the top of the market.”
Notes to editors
● Transfer fees quoted from Transfermarkt. Transfermarkt is a Germany-based website that tracks player statistics and transfers over time, for players and clubs across Europe's largest leagues.
● Transfers included as of 3rd August 2017
● Club revenues from company accounts, top 10 highest-earning clubs in each season, indexed against 2001 levels
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